To the editor:
Old Fido's on his last trip to the vet. He's been around a long, long time, but even modern veterinary medicine can't keep him going. As his owner, you want his final moments to be peaceful, and the vet assures you the method they use is very humane, very effective.
Holding back your emotions as best you can, you lift the old fellow onto the metal table, one hand ruffling his fur in a familiar gesture that earns you the usual tail wag.
"It's time, I guess," you tell the vet.
"It will be very quick and painless; don't worry," says the vet who then quickly loops a length of steel cable over Fido's head before either of you know what's happening. Pulling it taut against the dog's neck, the vet holds on tightly as Fido begins to claw uselessly against the table, struggling to breathe while the cable bites into his flesh and cuts off any air. His legs are windmilling, unable to stop the process, his heart pounds wildly, his gums are already turning blue while the vet hangs onto the cable.
After a couple minutes, Fido's frantic motions stop and he lays limp and dead in the loop of metal.
"See," says the vet, "humane and effective."
If this little description offended you, imagine how the wolf (or moose or caribou) dying in the trapper's snare feels.
Art Greenwalt / Fairbanks AK